Summer’s right around the corner along with beach days, swimming and family BBQs.
With it comes scorching temperatures and electricity bills climb too as people try to stay cool.
Finder research shows that 1 in 5 Australians are extremely stressed about their current financial situation and a quarter say their electricity bill is 1 of their top 4 most stressful expenses.
With energy prices expected to climb 20% by the end of the year and by 30% next summer, it has never been more important to start reining things in where you can. Here are 5 ways to save (both big and small) on your summer electricity bill.
1. Switch energy providers
Summer is as good a time as any to make sure you’re getting the best price on electricity. Find your last bill and start comparing energy plans. If you’re in NSW, VIC, QLD or SA, look for a plan that’s lower than the reference price.
In some states the difference between the cheapest and most expensive plans is $200–$300 per year.
In the parts of the country where you aren’t able to switch due to lack of choice or regulations you could look at switching to a different tariff type such as a time of use tariff to save during off-peak hours.
Hot tip: In 6 months when winter rolls round, don’t forget to compare again and make sure you’re always on the cheapest plan for your household.
2. Turn your air conditioner thermostat up 1–3 degrees
The lower you set your air con thermostat the harder your unit has to work, and therefore the more energy it uses (and the more you pay!).
Over the long summer days cooling costs can add up, leading to a nasty bill at the end of the quarter.
By setting your the temperature 2-3 degrees higher than you normally would, you can save on your running costs.
Hot tip: 24°C is a good temperature to set the thermostat. Every degree below 24°C adds to the bottom line of your bill.
3. Go all electric and install solar
These methods are no quick fix. There are some upfront costs associated with changing over from gas appliances to electric ones or installing a solar power system. But the savings in the long run can be well worth it.
A small solar photovoltaic system, which costs around $3,000 to $6,000 can pay for itself in as few as 4 short years. The government also offers solar rebates to help offset the investment and get you set up.
By converting your appliances to electric ones and installing solar you could end up in the position where you’re self-reliant or even earn some extra cash by feeding power back into the grid.
Hot tip: Depending on where you live, switching over from costly gas could eventually save you from $800 to an incredible $2,000 a year.
4. Switch to energy-efficient appliances
Energy-efficient appliances are the friendlier options when it comes to cutting down your energy bill.
Your fridge, air conditioner, hot water system and dishwasher are the appliances that tend to use the most electricity.
Lighting is another area where making a change can have an impact on your energy bill.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water says that lighting counts for 10% of the average Australian household’s electricity use. You could save approximately $650 over 10 years just by switching to more efficient LED light bulbs.
Hot tip: Compared to halogen and incandescent lighting, LEDs use around 75% less energy. They also last up to 10 times longer making them better for the environment.
5. Use the weather to your advantage
The hot weather can be both friend and foe.
Use the sun and warm weather to your advantage and dry your laundry on a line. According to Sustainability Victoria, a medium-sized clothes dryer used 3 times a week can add $119 to your yearly bill.
If there’s a breeze blowing, let it in through your windows and doors to help cool down your home. Every moment you’re not using the air conditioner or fan is another couple of dollars saved down the road.
In the evening as temperatures cool, open the windows and turn the air con off.
During the day when the sun is at its peak, draw the blinds in parts of the house to keep the heat out.
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